Fred’s winter find

Fred Cornege is glad he kept tabs on a Shamardal gelding he took to the Karaka Yearling Sales for fellow Cambridge owner and trainer Lorraine Sullivan.

That youngster made his debut at Rotorua today as King Willem and was easily the most impressive winner of the day, revelling in the testing heavy track and racing away for a 10-length win in the Fiber Fresh 3YO.

“I’ve liked him for a long time,” said Cornege, who races the three-year-old with his wife, Lindsay. “I took him up on the float to Karaka for Lorraine and was keen on him, but she had a $50,000 reserve on him and that was too much for me. He didn’t get his reserve so I took him home again.

“I kept asking Lorraine how he was doing and she offered to lease him to me with a $50,000 right of purchase. He’d already been broken-in and done a prep so was virtually ready to go. I couldn’t turn that offer down.”

King Willem had two trials for Cornege before today’s outing and was unplaced each time. His first trial was at Cambridge on March 12 on a good three track when ridden by Michelle Wenn and his other outing was on May 10 at Te Awamutu when Mark Hills took the reins.

“In that first trial I liked him, but he felt like he needed a wet track,” said Wenn, who rode him again today. “He got it this time and he just loved it. It’s a long time since I’ve won a race so easily.”

Cornege is unsure where to go next with King Willem. “He shouldn’t be hard to place,” he said. “The way he won today, he should win a few more.”

King Willem was bred by Sullivan from the Kaapstad mare Golconda, who was a winner over 1600 metres at Te Rapa for Sullivan and placed on eight occasions.